Russian forces are unlikely to attempt an assault crossing of the Dnipro River in southern regions, as it would likely be extremely complex and costly, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported in its latest update on Feb. 8.
Russian troops withdrew from the west bank of the Dnipro River in November, continuing fighting and reconnaissance on the islands and waterways in the river delta.
Ukrainian and Russian forces have likely deployed small groups on the occupied Kinburn Spit, which commands the Dnipro Gulf, in Mykolaiv Oblast, the ministry said.
“Russian forces have almost certainly used small boats to try to main a presence on key islands; Ukraine has successfully deployed long-range artillery to neutralize Russian outposts a number of times,” the ministry said.
Both sides are likely seeking to maintain a presence in these areas to control maritime access to the important river, according to the update.
Russian forces have been shelling the western bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast indiscriminately since withdrawing in early November.
According to Ukraine’s military, Russia's main efforts focus on offensives in Kharkiv and Donetsk oblasts.
However, Russian forces may be rushing to launch an offensive in Donetsk Oblast in an unrealistic timeframe and likely without sufficient combat power, the Institute for the Study of War said on Feb. 7.